The Best Opportunities

When it comes to internship recruiting season, the most common way of landing opportunities is through networking with recruiters, applying in volume, and preparing for interviews. This method is deterministic and is a function of how much work you’re willing to put in. However, it takes a substantial amount of effort as the process is extremely competitive.

But there’s another approach that is nearly equal in effort and can lead to better opportunities beyond internships[1].

It’s to do what you love. Start a non-profit, organize a community, start a side-project, write a blog, create anything.

When you do what you love, hard work comes naturally because it feels like play. If you stay consistent and put enough energy into it one of two things happen:

  1. You create an opportunity yourself through that project
  2. This project becomes a lighthouse attracting opportunities to you

One of my favorite internships came from this approach of doing what I love. At the time, I was leading a large student tech conference and pouring all my energy into it. As a result, I built domain expertise within the university landscape, I knew all the key people, and I had the reputation as well.

So when a startup was looking for consultation in this area my friend introduced me to the founders. I shared with them everything I knew and they offered me an internship on the spot.

For that internship, I got to travel to the best universities in the US and meet so many incredible people. There was no openings for this position and I’m not sure if I would’ve gotten it even if there was. Instead, the opportunity came to me. Through doing something I loved, I skipped the line and made my own opportunity.

The best people I know don’t chase credentials but they make their own instead.


[1] This approach is high reward but high risk as well.

October 18, 2020

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